When I first started Mezzacello five years ago I went in completely blind and ignorant about what farming really meant. I thought it would be grow and harvest – it would be happy and easy. But it’s really not. You learn you’re dealing with mother nature at her most elemental: whether you want to admit that or not. And that includes dealing with death. You learn that there are different kinds of death; natural, violent, careless, necessary death.
These are deep and heavy thoughts. It’s always been my dream to bring farming and life to the forefront of education by offering a model for integrating ecosystems for kids to see this firsthand. I would love to bring the farm model to schools. Using animals, skills, contained ecosystems, statistics, infrastructure, science, growth and gardening to teach kids about Ag science. But I’m not sure that schools are ready to talk openly about the price of life; which is death.
The farm has changed me. It’s not bad – it’s not good it’s just that I needed to adapt to the new reality. The farm requires that my systems be more than my expectations laid out by my culture or in my dreams. I imagine trying to explain this cold reality to kids: that when you hold animals in cages, you are responsible for them. When other animals attack and kill because your systems were not up to the task – that’s on you. Imagine being a third grader with that laid out before you. Now imagine being that kid and living it for real. That’s heavy.
Mezzacello needs to be firmly rooted in the reality that all things begin, exist, and end. And sometimes they end because of foolish or lazy decisions or things out of your control. And when they end, that’s final. I lost two chickens because I looked away from this reality and responsibility and that raccoon isn’t evil, he is part of the great wheel of fortune (Oh Fortuna!) Other generations knew this, but we are largely divorced from it in the Twenty-first Century; Death, life, innocence, and loss – That’s not something our culture deals with well. But it’s not injustice it’s just blind nature.